What is Candida albicans? It is a ubiquitous fungus commonly found in the human digestive tract, mouth, and genital region. Normally the role of Candida in the commensal flora of the digestive tract is controlled by beneficial bacteria. However, if this delicate balance is upset in anyway, e.g., the use of antibiotics or a compromised immune system, Candida overgrowth can occur resulting in infection. If the Candida is not brought back into balance in the GI tract it can penetrate the mucosal wall of the intestines and enter the bloodstream where it can target any number of vital organs and anatomical structures, including the prostate.
When left untreated, Candida overgrowth can result in systemic infection presenting a number of symptoms including, lethargy and fatigue, prostatitis, skin irritation, recurring heartburn, headaches, dizziness, fibromyalgia , irregularity, gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal pain, halitosis, persistent cough, night sweats, skin irritation, sinusitis, PMS, burning tongue, vaginal, kidney, bladder infections, hyperactivity, adrenal problems, rectal itching, impotence, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), reduced circulation, thrush, heart palpitations, irregular pulse, diabetes and variety of emotional and mental conditions including, irritability, anxiety, fear, depression, ‘brain fog”, memory loss and mood swings.
Candida overgrowth is often overlooked by doctors since it presents with symptoms that mimic other conditions. For this reason, an individual suffering with chronic prostatitis and being treated with multiple courses of antibiotics may in fact have a Candida infection (Candidiasis). Administering antibiotics in this instance would actually exacerbate the condition by also attacking the beneficial bacteria in the gut flora, which can result in accelerated Candida growth.
This was the case with a 57-year-old gentleman in 2004. After undergoing an ultrasound-guided transrectal biopsy of his prostate to investigate an elevated PSA, he was placed on fluoroquinolone (an antibiotic) to minimize risk of infection following the procedure. His biopsy tested negative for malignant cells. One week following the procedure he developed urinary retention and was catheterized and placed on tamsulosin with positive results. About three months later while on a business trip he experienced painful urination and was prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, the symptoms continued so he reported back to his urologist. A urinalysis was performed but cultures were negative. He was instructed to continue his antibiotics. After one week he again experience urinary retention and underwent catheterization. Additonally, his tamsulosin was increased and antibiotic regimen continued. A second urine culture, without urinalysis, was taken three days later and returned negative findings. Though the symptoms never completely resolved, the patient never experienced systemic indicators like fevers or chills.
After one month of antibiotics, his dysuria progressed to perineal discomfort and burning upon urination. Further examination by the urologist revealed a slightly boggy prostate along with mild tenderness. Results from urine, prostate secretion and ejaculate cultures at this time all grew Candida albicans. Based on these new findings, the patient was diagnosed with Candida prostatitis and was started on an antifungal medication (fluconazole) daily for 6 weeks. The patient saw resolution of symptoms after the first week of therapy. He remained symptom-free over a year later, and follow-up urinalysis following treatment has returned to normal.
The widespread use of antibiotics has given rise to a wide variety of systemic diseases that can be attributed to Candida overgrowth. Doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics to treat infectious disease. The problem is that infection can be caused by any number of pathogens, i.e., bacterial, viral and fungal. There are a variety of antibiotics on the market designed to treat specific types of infectious microorganisms and they are best prescribed when the specific infection-causing pathogen can be identified. Unfortunately the lab work required to properly indentify a specific causative pathogen before prescribing an appropriate antibiotic treatment is time consuming. Since immediate palliative care is an important part of a doctor’s role, broad spectrum antibiotics are routinely administered to treat infectious disease. Unfortunately, these treatments also target the “friendly bacteria” in the gut which creates a favorable environment in which Candida can thrive. Left unchecked, Candida can penetrate the intestinal mucosa and enter the bloodstream and wreck havoc on the body, especially immunocompromised individuals with HIV.
If you have been on a regimen of antibiotics for a period of time and have experienced urinary and prostate discomfort, you may want to have your urologist order lab work to rule out Candida yeast infection. This way you can be treated with the proper antifungal medication and avoid any potential risk of further infection and prostate cancer. Additionally, if you are taking antibiotics, it is important that you help replenish the healthy flora in your gut. The active cultures in yogurt are one way to accomplish this, however, plain, unsweetened yogurt is recommended for this purpose. You can also help boost your healthy flora with dietary supplements containing beneficial probiotics, i.e., acidophilus.
To date there is no clear clinical evidence that directly links Candida overgrowth with prostate cancer. There is, however, anecdotal evidence in the form of doctor case studies and autopsy research that frequently places Candida albicans at the scene of the crime although there is no “smoking gun” that directly links it to prostate cancer. Another point to keep in mind is the fact that the medical industry is a myopic, self-serving entity. Rather than placing emphasis on patient wellness and more holistic approaches to health management, the focus is on the symptom treatment through surgical and pharmaceutical methods. Real breakthroughs in health care that fall outside the industry status quo are looked upon with great skepticism and reproach.
Candida overgrowth is treatable with diet and nutritional supplementation. If research did show that Candida overgrowth gives rise to cancer, the entire medical industry would falter with the loss of its golden cash cow. It may be decades, if ever, before cancer researchers connect the dots and link Candida with cancer. To learn more about Candida overgrowth and the steps you can take to help avoid falling victim to it, read the book: The Missing Diagnosis by C. Orian Truss, M.D.
Mr. Collins, a cancer survivor, has first-hand experience with surgical prostate cancer treatment, more specifically, laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. A former publisher of the New York edition of Doctor of Dentistry magazine, Henry has completed certificate courses in anatomy, medical terminology, physiology and pathophysiology. He is currently writing a book on prostate cancer and is an advocate of early PSA screening. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.